Friday, September 10, 2010

Tinny wording - Detroit Fire

So in an AP story about the Detroit fires was this wording:

Wind gusts of up to 50 mph forced flames to jump from house to house, eventually encompassing 85 homes and garages -- many abandoned -- across several neighborhoods.

"Forced flames to jump"? OK, so the wind didn't have a gun at the flames' back, and it is understandable. But it is a bit tinny. Any writing, but especially journalism that is trying to catch and hold harried readers should be more than just understood. It should strive for some elegance.

Substitute "caused" for "forced," and you reduce that tinniness. Eliminate "to jump" so you have "forced flames from house to house" and it's even better. Finally, if you want (since "forced" still has that little connotation of volition), change it to "pushed" or "swept."

Wind gusts of up to 50 mph pushed flames from house to house, eventually encompassing 85 homes and garages -- many abandoned -- across several neighborhoods.

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At 9/10/10, 8:54 AM, Anonymous said...

This shows the state of online journalism. Here's a story that it now says is by Stephen Janis from When they first posted this story, it looked like this for several hours. Online journalism is scary when there are no editors. And to think that Mr. Janis teaches journalism at Towson. How many editing errors can you find in this story? Please coach them!!!!!!!

NEWS FLASH – Baltimore Pawn shop owner pleads guilty to money laundering

A Baltimore cit\y pawnshop owner has plead guilty to laundering millions of illicit gains from selling stolen merchandise.

Louis Letch, Sr., age 62, admitted he tried to hide gains from purchasing stolen goods thathe later resold. He also plead guilty to failing to declare the income on his tax returns.

The charges stem from a wide ranging conspiracy to sell medication, beauty products, DVDS, electronics and other goods that were stolen and sold to his E-Z Money Pawn Ship in the city.

The store employed ‘Boosters” or shoplifters who targeted area retailers like Wall Mart, and Safeway. Letch then “ cleaned” the stolen items of security tags so he could re-sell them online.

Authorities estimate he sold nearly $1 million in merchandise over a two year period,

The investigation was headed by US Postural service, but included the FBI, the IRS and Baltimore County police.

The US Attorney’s office also released a list of co-conspirators who have plead guilty to money laundering charges Justin Noel Mayhew, age 29; Robert Anthony Reed and Daniel Fillip Mime, both age 27; Spencer Michael Garonzik, age 43; Michael Ender, age 32; and Warren Allen Culver II, age 31; and Michael B. Levy, age 51, all of Baltimore; Jared Lee Ezra, age 41, of Reisterstown, Maryland; and Nicholas Acosta, age 22, of Baltimore


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